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Re: [xmca] On the shape of the zpd and message in a bottle
The passage I gave you was the Francoise Seve translation of Thinking and Speech, retranslated by me into English. It corresponds to p. 206 of the Minick translation.
I just gave it because it's one of the early references to "curve". As you can see on p. 214 of Minick, though, LSV is really talking about straight lines, just as Carol is.
There are lots of others; the belief that LSV did not believe in curves or tests is an illusion produced the Stalinist censorship of his work.
Is there a link between this talk about straight lines as curves and the "neoformation", the social situation of development, and the central/peripheral lines of development that we find in Volume Five?
Yes, I think there is. In fact, there's even a link to the pfennigs and marks (pennies and dollars) of LSV's critical appreciation of Koffka. Take a look at this, on p. 210 of your Minick:
"Comparative psychology has established several indices that allow us to distinguish intellectual, meaningful imitation from automatic copying. In the first case, the resolution of a problem is learned suddenly--once and forever. It does not require repetition. The error curve falls steeply and suddenly from one hundred percent to zero. Every indication of an independent intelelctual solution is manifested. This solution is attained as a consequence of grasping the structure of the field, of grasping the relationships among objects. With training, however, learning proceeds by trial and error.The learning curve representing mistaken solutions falls slowly and steadily. Learning requires frequent repetition. The training process manifests no meaningfulness and no understanding of structural relations. It is realized blindly and without structure."
I think LSV is comparing the Kohler experiments (a chimp, a box, or a stick in two parts, and a dangling fruit or a fruit beyond the bars of the cage which required BOTH pushing with a stick AND a detour to another part of the cage) with Thorndike's superficially very similar experiments (the box with a hidden spring latch on the door into which Thorndike put a chimp, outside which there was a fruit).
In the former case, the ape solved the problem either instantaneously and for all time or not at all. But in the latter case, where there was no way for even a human subject to understand the link between the spring mechanism and the opening of the door, there was simply trial and error.
This is because the solution in Thorndike's case is essentially MAGICAL, like the experiments with the talking statue and the pointing duck and the disappearing stamp that Eugene Subbotsky is interested in.
Faced with magic, humans do not develop the kind of system that Jay Lemke describes in "Talking Science", the system of THEMATIC relations (classifying, defining, exemplifying). Phylogenetically, we proceed by trial and error, religion, and at most the gruesome rationalism that Laurence Sterne associates with John Locke and David Hume (really a kind of pale empiricist Scots echo of the merciless French rationalism of their age).
But what do children do? Ontogenetically, word meanings develop in an empirical, factual manner; the links between meanings merely mirroring the links between objects. But until concepts can be related to OTHER concepts, rather than simply related to objects, conscious grammar cannot emerge.
A role play without rules is possible. But a game without rules is no game at all. A vocabulary without a system is possible. But a grammar without a system is not a grammar.
Grammar emerges precisely from the idea that "apple" is related to superordinate concepts such as "noun" and even "subject" rather than to concrete objects such as edible apples. Much the same thing can be said about written language, and of course primary foreign languages.
That's what Andy means when he talks about the social situation of development for the school child being a "sticky situation". I think it is a contradiction which is created by the SUPERPRODUCTIVITY of the previous system of generalization, the forces of generalization OVERWHELMING the structures of generalization (that is, the central neformation, the central form of mental life).
At school age, the child has freed herself from empiricism thanks to play and imagination. The superproduction of generalization overwhelms the "naming" function of language. But the child has not yet mastered, consciously, the idea that invisible, created worlds also have patterns and rules and abstract laws.
Even the child's games tend to the concrete "system" of role play (abstractions modeled complexively on concrete objects) rather than the more scientific systems of rule play (abstractions freed from their empirical avatars).
Play remains, for a good long time in primary school, a central line of development, which is why I think it's really quite wrong to say that the child leaves complexive thinking at the school gate. True, it's disguised as various forms of schoolwork. But take a look at this.
The kids have been learning by rote the days of the week, the months of the year, and now the seasons in English. The teacher introduces the idea of "portmanteau words" (e.g. "brunch" = "breakfast" + "lunch") and applies it to the seasons. Notice how the children grasp the idea instantly, and it immediately transforms the whole system of concepts, from top to bottom--including the everyday concept of "winter"!
: Normally British people tend to say Autumn instead of Fall. But American people usually say Fall. And it is, finally?
T: Winter. (writing) But listen! I don't like winter because it is TOO cold. (pointing to the winter at the left-top part) And I also don't like spring because yellow dust is in the air. (pointing to the spring) So,, I like, I like,,,, over here (underlying 'wint' in the winter and 'ring' in the spring) I like WINTRING! (wrinting 'wintring' between the winter and the spring) Umm! I don't like spring because of yellow dust, I don't like summer because there are TOO many mosquitoes. SO! I like,,,?
Ss: Sumer./ Sprimm./ Sprimming./ Sprmm./ Sprumm./ Sprummer./ %#$^@@ (and more inaudible words)
Ss: (a couple of inaudible words)
T: Sp,Sp,Sprummer? OK. I like Sprummer? OK. It's up to you. (writing 'Sprummer' between the spring and the summer) What about here? (pointing to between the summer and the fall) Summer is TOO hot and in Fall, I feel lonely because leaves fall, so,,,,any good ideas?
Ss: Supery/Summal./Summery./ Autterfall./ Supering/ Auffal/ Summal $#@%! (all are not so clear)
T: Su,,,Su,,,(underlying 'sum' in the summer and 'all' in the fall.) not SummER and SummAL? Summal? Yeah, possibly. (writing 'Summal' between the summer and the fall) What about....here? (pointing to between the fall and the winter) I feel lonely and it's too cold..
Ss: (they get louder)Wintal!/ Faunter!/ Founter. / Faunter!/ Falter./ Father!/ %$@#^@ (a lot of inaudible words)
T: But it goes from Fall to Winter, so maybe from here...
Ss: (keep creating inaudible words) Founter./ Falter.
T: Falter? OK, (writing 'falter' between the fall and the winter) So, unm, Jinho's birthday is in,,,between Spring and,,Sprummer. What about your birthday, when is your birthday? Well, Obama's birthday is... (we had done a guessing game last lesson and it was about guessing some celebrities' birthdays.)
T: Summal? Summal? (laugh) What about you? Can you tell me about your birthday? When is your birthday? (S3 raises her hand)
S3: My birthday is in Wintring.
T: Ahh,,what month? When, when is,
T: Your birthday is in March so maybe your birthday is in Wintering. Or,,, what else? 지원?
S4: My birthday is in Falter which is December.
T: Ahh, December? So Falter? It could be Falter? What about you back there? Yes!
S5: 어,,My birthday is in Winter, uh, January.
T: Ah, it is January? So it is totally Winter.
For Vygotsky, it is not simply that word meanings develop. It's that they develop as part of a system, and not just as part of everyday experience. It's the non-arbitrariness of that system that allows the "curve" of error to fall to virtually zero in just a few turns, and transforms the bare noun "winter" from an experience into a gradeable adjective.
Seoul National University of Education
PS: Some outstanding questions and some insitting answers.
"So zopeds are endemic to schooling? Oh was LSV being an optimist!"
My theory is that he had lost the optimism of his early work on "complexes" in Blonsky's labor school and he was trying to deal with the terrible consequences of the 1931 insistence on science and math "concepts".
Usually, I'm a champion of LATE Vygotsky against EARLY Vygotsky but in this case I think he had it right the first time, or rather, he had it right and he was trying desperately, with his last strength, to swim across the stream instead of directly against it.
"I am currently working on a deep structural disconnect between what teachers
teach in 3rd-4th grade arithmetic and what kids could possibly do in their
One of the things I find really delightful about David Kirshner's "number pit" solution was that it reminded me of teaching my five year old niece (who now, as a seven year old, hates arithmetic) to play Mancala. It was like working with Kohler's chimp rather than Thorndike's; she grasped the way to play immediately even though it is clearly based on exactly the same principle as arithmetic (the "number pit" principle, actually).
"What is the relationship between the meaning of the word develop in Ch 7 and
the meaning of this word in the works of LSV discussed in Chaiklin?"
Chapter Seven is almost entirely microgenetic. He is talking about how the will to speak turns into sense and how that sense gets built into meanings. But that's a very different process to how the system of volition, sense, and meaning develops; it's actually almost the reverse, because the system is instantiated from the inside outwards (from the affective disposition to the meaningful word) and it is developed from the outside in (from nonvolitional social interaction to autonomous control).
Of course, "inside out" and "outside in" has nothing to do with the container-of-information metaphor that we find in Friesen's model of communication (he even took Saussure's model of speech communication!). It's a generalization from Mescharyakov's four genetic laws (2007).
When LSV uses "internal" and "external" it has about as much to do with space as "above" used to describe science concepts and "below" used to describe everyday ones.
With science concepts, "up" is not the "up" in "throw up", it's more like the "up" in "finish up", and with "internalization" the "in" is not the 'in" of 'put in" it's more like the "in" of "fill in".
(I know, I know, insitting answers are not exactly outstanding ones. But they not exactly un-understanding ones either...)
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